Tips for Heat Wave Emergency Preparedness

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Now that summer’s here, the chances for a heat wave – a period in which temperatures are at least 10 degrees higher than average and are accompanied by high humidity – significantly increase.

What many don’t realize is, excessive heat, particularly in recent years, is responsible for more deaths than any other weather-related event. When slowing down evaporation, heat pushes the body to work harder to maintain a normal temperature, and a heat disorder may develop as a result. Overexposing a body part, over-exercising, being of a particular age, or having a certain physical condition may make an individual more prone to experiencing one of these illnesses. The elderly, children, those sick, or overweight tend to be more susceptible, while a stagnant atmosphere and poor air quality may exacerbate the condition.

Additionally, heat waves affect urban areas more so than suburban and rural ones. Asphalt and concrete store heat longer and then release it at night, resulting in higher temperatures throughout the day with no relief.

Yet, no matter where you are, having a preparedness plan for when temperatures rise helps with getting through it and addressing any illness that may develop. Consider these steps:

Beforehand Preparation

So you’re ready in the event of a flood, have all of the following prepared:

  1. Make an emergency kit, which assists during power outages and if anyone is in distress
  2. Have your air conditioner installed, and check your ducts for proper insulation.
  3. Use temporary window reflectors to keep heat out.
  4. Add weather stripping, which keeps cool air in.
  5. If you know certain windows receive morning and afternoon sun, cover them with drapes
  6. Keep your storm windows up in summer
  7. Listen to the weather forecast for any temperature changes
  8. Be ready for a power outage with an emergency kit, water, food, and other supplies.
  9. Know who in your neighborhood is young, elderly, or overweight, and be prepared to help.
  10. If possible, get trained in first aid to respond to the following heat-related injuries:

    • Heat Cramps: An individual starts experiencing muscle pains and spasms from heavy exertion.
    • Heat Exhaustion: This condition occurs when bodily fluids are lost through heavy sweating, which can occur when someone is working in a hot, humid place. When this happens, blood flow to the skin increases and is diverted away from vital organs, which in turn creates a mild form of shock. If the body’s temperature continues to increase, he or she could eventually suffer from heat stroke.
    • Heat Stroke: A life-threatening condition, a heat stroke occurs when the body’s temperature control system, which sweats to cool the body, stops working. When this occurs, the body’s temperature gets high enough that brain damage and death may be imminent, if the body isn’t cooled.

During a Heat Wave

  1. When the temperatures rise, never leave a child or pet inside a closed vehicle.
  2. Stay in an air-conditioned indoor place as much as possible, with limited exposure to the sun.
  3. Eat light, well-balanced meals, and limit your exposure to the sun.
  4. Always drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty, and be sure to avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages.
  5. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing, and avoid dark colors, as these absorb heat.
  6. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face.
  7. Avoid doing strenuous work during the day.
  8. If your home doesn’t have an air conditioner, go to a public place, such as a mall or library, that has one.

In creating a heat wave preparedness plan, make sure to get 1st Aid Supplies involved. Start by shopping our stores for first aid and disaster kits, as well as supplies like emergency water.


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